BRADSHAW Phoenix’s brave attempts to derail FC Bowling Green’s Bridge Balti Sunday League Premier Division title hopes were commendable but a late four goal surge from the leaders helped them maintain their lead at the top.
Green started sprightly and passed the ball surprisingly smoothly across the rough surface at Natty Lane with midfield trio, Clegg, Porter and Sutcliffe at the helm.
Tricky wingers Josh Gill and Tom Holroyd were giving the home full backs plenty to contend with, but their efforts were undone by an experienced back four which was confidently marshalled by Andrew Parker.
Green had two convincing penalty claims dismissed as the industrious Gary Ash was challenged in on goal and Andrew Sutcliffe’s curling effort was narrowly tipped over by the diving keeper.
The second half saw the introduction of Ben Helliwell whose experience added an injection of penetration to Green and with half an hour left they broke the deadlock when a mazy run and shot from Gill cannoned off a defender and beyond the keeper.
Ash added Green’s second soon after as he coolly rounded the keeper to finish and the same player made it three with a near post header from an Ishiy Ali corner.
With the game all but over, Sutcliffe cleverly slipped in Ash who was scythed down and this time the referee had no choice but to award a penalty which Ash gladly converted to complete his hat-trick.
Phoenix’s efforts to grab a late consolation were only denied by the tremendous Leon Severn who was in fine form for Green at the back.
Elland Sports are continuing to chase Green down but boss Nigel Dare admitted that their 6-1 success at Carrington Rangers was harsh on the home side.
“Fortuitous is the word I would use,” said Dare. “Carrington are a good young side and they were certainly the better side in the first half.
“They missed four or five good chances and we were very lucky to go in at half-time 1-0 ahead.”
That goal came via a Wayne Crossley penalty but Rangers were level early in the second period when they also netted from the spot.
Elland keeper Tom Greenwood kept his side in it with a tremendous save to keep out a 30 yard screamer and Elland went up the other end and Crossley’s free-kick was headed in by James Parkinson.
Dean McDonald came on for his first taste of action since late November and lobbed the keeper who dropped the ball over the line after which Crossley’s fine finish made it 4-1.
The Rangers keeper was left disappointed again when he allowed a Dave Woffenden trickler from distance to beat him leaving Jacob Driver to wrap things up following a corner.
FC Royal of Pellon lost a bit of ground as they slipped to third after being held to a 1-1 draw by Halifax Hammers while at the other end FC Shoulder Northowram took another step towards safety by beating Mount Tabor 2-1.
Shoulder were the better side in the first half and went in 2-0 up at the break. Tabor started the second half much better and put Shoulder under pressure without making it count, Chris Woodhouse hitting the woodwork twice.
With around 20 minutes to go boss Paul Greenwood threw caution to the wind and went with three up front leaving just three at the back and shortly after that Tabor were awarded a penalty for a deliberate handball and Matty Mason converted the spot kick.
Tabor then pushed hard for the equaliser but it wasn’t to be.
That win for Shoulder means champions King Cross CB&AC still have work to do to climb away from the lower reaches and their cause wasn’t helped by a 3-0 defeat at Engineers.